Industrial tapes come in almost endless permutations, with numerous adhesive types, backing materials, dimensions, physical properties, and intended applications. With the number of tapes on the market today, it could easily be thought that there is an off-the-shelf tape out there that is suitable for any manufacturing or product assembly job.
However, in using a general or multi-purpose tape, the end-user may be deprived of the advantages afforded by a customized tape solution. There is also the possibility of a poor end product or impairment in the process in which it is employed. Those engineers and technicians involved in general operations might be aware that the off-the-shelf tape or joining methods currently used are not meeting requirements, but they have neither the time to innovate a new type of tape nor the ability to bring the design to life.
Tape customization requires an experienced, established partnership to optimize tape technologies. Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions has more than 50 years' experience, provides experience in helping manufacturers and suppliers bring novel tapes to life.
Entrusting Tape Design to the Experts
Although not a complicated task, innovating a custom tape for an application does require intimate knowledge of material relationships and application conditions. There should also be a strong understanding of available manufacturing methods. The design process is initiated by a complete review of the application by experienced engineers. This gives insight into the components and materials that will be adhered and the precise needs of that bond. Some materials must be permanently fixed under duress; other bonds are only temporary and require a residue-free adhesive. Ultimately, the goal of this review is to provide information on the types of adhesives that are acceptable.
Another consideration is the backing material of the tape, determined by the necessary strength of tape along with any special properties, such as electrical conductivity, or thermal/chemical resistance, among others. A tape's backing material is a crucial variable in the tape development equation, as it can govern how successful the tape will be. The following are some of the most common performance attributes that need to be accounted for in tape design:
- Dielectric insulation
- Extreme temperature resistance
- Climate and weather resistance
- EMI and RFI shielding
- ESD resistance
- Thermal insulation and conductance
- Shock and vibration damping
- Chemical resistance
- High or low coefficient of friction
- Abrasion resistance
- High or low tensile or cut strength
Another aspect under review from the product development engineering team is how to best integrate the tape into the existing manufacturing equipment and processes. High and consistent throughput is key to success, so the tape must be easily taken up by production staff and machines alike. This could result in a precut tape of a particular dimension or shape and a special release liner being developed, so there are no processing delays from measurements, unpeeling or entanglements.
Once the development process has finished, the resulting tape should be one that has the perfect tack, meets all of the customer's performance specifications, and is easily integrated into existing workflows. As product quality and throughput is improved, greater efficiency and reliability is ensured as well as a more profitable enterprise.
The three primary functions of adhesive tape: Bonding, Insulation & Protection.
A Partnership in Innovative Materials
Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions is the leading provider of customized tape solutions. They have extensive experience across the aerospace and defense, electronics, energy, general industry, and automotive sectors, and know how to solve challenging tape designs in demanding conditions.
The dedicated engineering teams of Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions are spread around the globe for quick access to improve products and processes with innovative tape designs. Their teams remain in close communication with the customer to ensure that expectations are met and emerging issues or challenges are addressed. Often, there is a single individual that liaises between company and customer, providing a single source of expert communication between engineers.
Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions uses a streamlined version of the Stage-Gate Process typical to R&D, which lets subject matter experts from disparate areas of the business work together to find the best solutions using a “Co-Development Toolbox.” Using a project management tool called “PACE” (Prototyping and Co-Development Effort), they work quickly and carefully from the beginning to the end of each project for a deep understanding of the application, the CTQs and to get feedback from the customer. Using pilot lines and in-house testing and simulation, they can rapidly develop and test tape designs. Their on-site support allows customers to test tape designs and deliver feedback in the field before committing to a final solution. As a materials converter, Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions can provide tapes in a myriad of sizes and formats, ensuring the material is optimal for any process or volume.
Custom Tapes Make a Difference
The following are a few examples of collaboration that led to product innovation to better illustrate the value that Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions can bring to your design challenge:
- A polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) adhesive tape was redesigned to have a higher tensile strength and lower elongation for a cable bundling application. The customer was able to meet a newly released aircraft specification and submit a bid on new business.
- An acrylic tape was specially designed for a clean release from automobile exterior paint systems. The customer uses the tape to affix protective covers to automobiles during transit from the factory and no longer needs to correct paint discoloration when the covers are removed.
- A silicone rubber sponge was laminated to PTFE film, adhesive coated and die-cut for an electric vehicle battery application. The combination of the specified thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties in one product allowed the battery designer to decrease the number of components in the battery and reduce assembly time and cost.
- A polyimide tape was designed for the unique requirements of a rimless tire. A supplier to the high-end tire market was able to offer a new, top-tier product to broaden its portfolio.
The return on investment of a custom tape solution can be many times the initial payment thanks to the improvements in products and processes it can provide. The tape development engineers at Saint-Gobain will work alongside partners to deliver an economical but highly effective tape product.
Although the range of off-the-shelf tapes seems to hold endless permutations, only Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions can ensure that tape is the exact one for your needs, with optimal adhesive, the perfect backing materials, seamless process integration, and superb performance.
Contact them today to learn how they can help solve tape and materials' engineering challenges.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions.
For more information on this source, please visit Saint-Gobain Tape Solutions.